Everyone has urges, but when you stop using drugs, those urges can be powerful and harder to resist. Managing urges is one of the most crucial steps in reducing drug use.

What are Urges?

Urges are intense physical responses. They are the biological, psychological, and social aspects of addiction coming together. Urges are a normal part of life and not unhealthy. It's what you do about the urge that matters. 

How to Manage Urges? 

The first step is to analyze the urge. You can learn to recognize how urges make you feel and what thoughts go through your head when you have them. Once you can learn to identify these urges, you can create strategies to resist them. 

How to Resist Urges? 

DEADS is an acronym for strategies that can help you resist urges:

  • Delay – Putting off reacting to your urges. You should be aware that urges come and go, and not acting on them is sometimes the best way to handle them.

  • Escape – This strategy involves removing yourself from the situation that triggered your urges. Excusing yourself and leaving can be beneficial if it means you don’t act on your urges.

  • Avoid – Learn to avoid situations that might trigger your urges.

  • Distract – Take control of your urges by getting busy. Distract yourself with something you enjoy, like reading, walking, exercising, or going to a movie.

  • Substitute - When you have an urge to do something unhealthy, do something healthy instead. For example, you could eat a piece of fruit every time you have the urge.

Learning to understand your urges is the best way to resist them and make positive choices.